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Parks and rec efforts meant to boost quality of life in Kannapolis

CHINA GROVE — Kannapolis City Council sets its parks and recreation priorities based on improvements to public health and safety, improvements to the overall quality of life and enhanced economic development opportunities.
“Every single thing on this list is what parks and recreation is all about,” Parks and Recreation Director Gary Mills told council members at the annual planning retreat Thursday morning at Pity’s Sake Lodge.
The department is busy updating its master plan, which is now 12 years old. Staff have held two public meetings to get input on the plan, Mills said. “We cannot go after large grants without a master plan.”
Kannapolis last received a large grant in 2005, Mills noted. “It’s our turn.”
Input is being received through several methods: the public meetings, a random telephone survey of 200 residents, and an online survey. Stakeholder interviews have also been conducted.
Jeff Ashbaugh of Site Solutions and a Kannapolis resident walked council through the master plan process.
“There have been a lot of different tools to receive input,” he said. “If a citizen wants to have input, that opportunity is there.”
Mills showed council a chart with 16 recreation items, and asked council to use 16 green dots each to indicate in which activities they had great interest, some interest or no interest.
All seven council members placed dots under great interest in athletic fields and a carousel at Village Park, with five dots under great interest in tennis courts and a recreation center.
The top five items of great interest in the public meetings were greenways and athletic fields (157 votes), a dog park (103 votes), access to city lakes (98 votes) and a recreation center (93 votes).
Results from the telephone survey will be available next week, Mills said.
Councilman Doug Wilson asked about the feasibility of lake access.
“Some are more feasible than others,” City Manager Mike Legg said. “Low-impact lake access is possible. We are a city of lakes, for sure.”
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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